Yesterday, I posted that I would be attending an Infusion Conference this weekend. I did so last night and this morning with 5 others from CCF. The experience was helpful on many levels. My reflections are not all positive, but I have elected to share them anyway (although I realize the risk in sharing negatively online). Here are some of my responses to the event listed randomly. When I refer to the speakers, am referring to Frank Viola and Alan Levine. You may remember Frank Viola as the author of Pagan Christianity, which I posted several blogs on. Here goes:
- The speakers are wounded and hurt by their past church experiences (as long as 25 years ago) and it comes out in their sharing very strongly. That saddened me for them.
- This event felt (to me) like a platform for two men who are angry at organized church to share their frustration with a room full of people that feel the same. The bitterness I sensed in the room didn't feel God glorifying (and maybe I am no better for writing that here).
- Their books are flying off the shelves because people are finding language for their frustration with church...but they are also finding excuses to drop out of church and feel justified in it. So, while I deeply appreciate someone like Frank writing the tough (even true) stuff that he does, it is being broadly misused (whether he likes it or not).
- This experience seemed to confirm that "traditional house church" is not for me any more than "traditional institutional church" is. I really don't think that spending 6 years with the same 6 people cuts it...on many levels.
- I am more convinced now than I have ever been that there are gifts, strengths and beauty in every color, taste, style and size of church....that are all needed in the body of Christ! Additionally, I think that we are nearing a time when we will discover some form of hybrid model of institutional/simple/house church that takes us to a new place and I am excited to be a part of finding and living it.
- The final thing that this weekend showed me was this: For those of us that feel called to rethink, reimagine, and explore something new and different, the best thing that we can do is to keep a Jesus heart...gracious, humble, gentle, teachable, attuned to the Father and the Spirit! If we think we are better, we may end up bitter.